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An Inspired Advent: Day 17

Nanette Webb embroidered napkins Fabric Free Tutorial Holidays Inspiration Uncategorized

Embroidered linen napkins are stunning, easy to make, fabulous to keep, generous to give and can be used all winter! These beautiful napkins are destined to become family heirlooms for sure. (Especially when paired with our double-faced satin riboon!)


Using our scarlet red linen from Merchant & Mills, cut squares 22″ in size.



We invested in a rolled hem foot for our machine just so we could more easily do projects like this. There is a wonderful video tutorial on how to use these specialty hem feet on the Bernina website. There is a range of them so see which one you would get the most out of before purchasing, as they are a few dollars. For the shop, I bought #68 – the Roll and Shell Hemmer foot since you can use it to hem knit as well as woven fabric.


One trick I like to do is baste a stitch 3/4″ from the edge of the edge of the fabric. This is for two reasons. First, it’s a helpful guide for the left side of my presser foot as I’m sewing the rolled hem, as it can be difficult to tell how much fabric you are rolling over as you sew. This ensures a nice straight hem. Second, the guide stitching also serves as stay stitching so I don’t stretch my fabric out of shape as I sew. Corners are a bit tricky, so you need a little patience!



Alternately, you can sew an 1/8″ or 1/4″ narrow hem with  mitered corners like Debbie showed how to do on Advent: Day 9. You could also hand stitch the hem, which is lovely.

Once you have all four sides of your cut pieces hemmed, you can start cross stitching or embroidering.

A simple snowflake pattern is nice because it doesn’t scream Christmas and won’t need to be boxed up and stored once the holiday season is over.

There are tons of templates on our “Handstitches” Pinterest board along with lots of how-tos and tips!

Here is a link to a really nice pattern I found on Pinterest for cross-stitched snowflakes. If you’d like to make up your own cross stitch pattern, here is a link to some printable cross-stitch graph paper. You can also make your own patterns on Microsoft Excel by using the graph paper template. Simply hold the command key down while clicking in the squares you want to color and use the fill tool to change the color. Excel is nice because you can easily change your design without having to erase like you would on paper.I

I used white DMC six-strand thread for this project. After you cut your length of thread, usually about 18″, gently separate two strands from the bunch and thread your needle. You don’t need to tie a knot as you are going to catch your loose ends among the stitches…why? so there’s nothing lumpy when you go to daub that drip of gravy off your chin!

If you are new to cross-stitch here is a great beginner tutorial from the makers of the thread – or floss – as it is called (I don’t know why). You can cross stitch your design on our linen by counting over two threads or you can use soluble waste canvas or traditional waste canvas from a craft store to use as your stitch guide.



If you are embroidering here is a great beginner or refresher tutorial on embroidery stitches. Again, our “Handstitches” Pinterest page has a bunch more resources for other techniques.

I like to use Saral wax-free transfer paper to trace embroidery designs onto fabric: the markings stay long enough for you to use, but brushe right off when you are done.


I think it’s easier to handle your project if you use an embroidery hoop. I have both plastic and wooden ones, it makes no difference.

You are finally ready to start stitching!



I chose to do a simple chain stitch and some French knots on this one.  You can sit in front of the TV and watch those Christmas specials with your family while you sew!

Set your table and enjoy!

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